"Barclay Thoracic Ward, Nottingham City Hospital"

About: City Hospital campus / Respiratory medicine

(as the patient),

I was admitted to this ward for fundoplication using the thoracotomy route (wrapping the top of my stomach around my oesophagus to stop acid reflux going in through the side of my chest). I can say that in the whole year I have spent in hospitals in the last fifteen years, this was the worst ward I have been on.

I had problems with my epidural and had to go back to theatre to have it resited when it started to work properly. I didn't mind that, but I did object to a nurse in the ward's own HDU complaining I'd been there too long. On the main ward, I had to BEG a nurse to get a dose of anti-emetic via the iv route. She wanted to give me it by tablet as it was easier for her. However, I needed it iv. as I needed the relief immediately. Similarly, I had to beg that nurse to get analgesia. She had just changed my analgesic patch and refused to give me top-up pain relief, which I was written up for, as she claimed I didn't need it as she'd changed my fentanyl patch a few minutes before, showing she completely misunderstood how the patches work. The same nurse told the dietician I'd asked to see that I didn't need to see her and sent her away. When the dietician came back, she agreed that I very definitely needed her help!

A nurses kept complaining that I hadn't had my urinary catheter out and that I should have had it out long before. The only problem? I didn't have a urinary catheter - an impossibility since I no longer have a bladder. It was my urostomy pouch which I need to wear 24/7.

I developed a massive DVT and could no longer walk. The nurses couldn't be bothered to change my nursing care plan from 'independently mobile' so, when I was discharged, I was bundled into a wheelchair, pushed out of the fire door and shoved into my wife's car - unable to walk and completely unable to climb the stairs at home. No discharge planning whatsoever had been done.

My actual discharge happened like this: I had been in bed for one week with my left leg three times the size of my right and untreated because of the DVT. A doctor came to see me and said, "see that man on the trolley over there. He needs to be in your bed when he comes back from theatre so, if you don't go home today, he won't get his operation. If you GP is unhappy with us sending you home like this, he can always send you back again!" (Laughed at his own 'cleverness')

When my GP came to see me at home, he, of course, sent me straight back again to a different ward where my DVT and cellulitis were correctly diagnosed and treated - unfortunately far too late for the DVT as I now have suffered permanent damage because of the failure to treat it on the Thoracic ward. I never want to be on that ward again!

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